Are animals allowed in my restaurant?

Animals (unless they are service animals (not just emotional support animals) cannot be in places that serve food.  This is a violation of health codes.

From the SF Dept of Health:

Animals in Food Facilities

California Food Code generally prohibits animals in food facilities with the exception of service animals and law enforcement animals. The exception for service animals is made to be consistent with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Under the ADA service animals are those that are specifically trained to provide a task or function to an individual with a disability. The ADA limits the types of service animals to dogs (and in rare cases miniature horses). All service animals must always be under the control of the person the animal is serving.

Food facilities in San Francisco on private property may legally exclude any animal that is not a service animal as defined by the ADA.

The Department of Public Health does not have the authority to change State or Federal law or regulation.

Please see this link from SF’s website:  You may print this out and post it and have it to hand out to customers if you have issues.

Service animal guidelines:

You are responsible for your animal’s behavior.  Any service or support animal that is not under control may be asked to be removed from the premises. 

“Under control” means the animal must:

  • Be house-trained 
  • NOT be disruptive or aggressive 
  • NOT be on furniture 
  • NOT be fed or watered indoors

In most cases, a handler must use a leash, harness or tether with their animal at all times.  

For service animals, an exception may be made under the following circumstances: 

First, an exception is available if the leash, harness or tether would interfere with the service animal’s work.  In these instances, the leash, harness or tether may be removed for the duration of tasks that require such removal only, should be secured on the service animal again once a task is complete, and must remain on at other times.  If the leash, harness or tether is removed because of this exception, the person must use voice, signal, or other effective means to maintain control of the animal. 

Second, an exception is available for service animals if the person’s disability prevents use of the leash, harness or tether.

If a service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if it is not housebroken, that animal may be excluded or asked to be removed.

In addition, if the presence of the service animal would fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program provided to the public, the animal may be excluded.  For example, a service dog may be excluded from areas of a zoo where a dog is prey or predator to the animal on display, or from an ambulance if its presence would interfere with emergency responder’s ability to work.

For more information, please refer to: